*record scratch* You’re probably wondering how you wound up here, looking for hottie recs and staring down the muzzle of an apex predator. Well, I’m totally super serious: I think we should all nominate the bear off its tits on coke from the upcoming, sure-to-be cinematic masterpiece Cocaine Bear for this year’s Pajiba 10. And I promise to give you a very good reason, if you’ll just (heh) bear with me…
Way back in 2019, when I nominated that hot duck for P10 (no regrets), I described what I called an “existential thirst crisis” — the feeling that I wasn’t particularly, uh, stimulated by our usual species-normative options. Yes, of course I still find John Cho to be an absolute snack, but is he enough to make me feel less worn down by our political and social hellscape? Judging people based on looks seems shallow, but looking for any deeper reason to desire them is a disaster waiting to happen. Who knows what secrets are a blind item away from surfacing? I was burnt, basically. Emotionally drained, with nary a tingle left in my brain or other southern regions to spare — and that was BEFORE the pandemic! Needless to say, Janelle Monáe could throw on a pair of thick-framed glasses, stomp up to me in some Doc Martens and stroke my arm while inviting me out for a drink, and I’d probably politely explain that I’m still not super comfortable being maskless indoors. Sorry! Maybe next summer when there are outdoor dining options open again?
And for the record, I’m not completely dead inside: I saw James McAvoy shirtless, from the second row, when he did “Cyrano de Bergerac” at BAM last spring — my first post-panny trip! — and it was, hands down, the hottest thing I’ve seen in my life. Not because his nipples were like right there staring at me but because godDAMN that man can act! They didn’t even give him the huge nose; he just exuded so much hurt angry energy that you believed he thought he was ugly. Yup, I found the painfully smart, talented, angry, broken dude hot so yes, my tastes are still firmly set to “cliché” thankyouverymuch. I’m not out here nominating James McAvoy, though. He’ll do just fine without my help, and I don’t think explaining why he’s so deserving would be anything other than an exercise in the obvious.
Instead, I think we should examine what really moves us in today’s world. What makes us stop in our tracks, leaves us shook and wanting more. What fills our (mental, emotional, don’t make it weird) holes? What are we missing? For me, there’s only one answer, and that’s… hope.
So: Cocaine Bear.
When the movie was first announced it sounded like a punchline, but when I saw the trailer, something in me just… sat up a little straighter. It’s based on a true story, about a black bear that ate a drug runner’s lost cargo and went on a teensy weensy lil rampage, and the movie seems to go all in on both the absurd humor of the scenario as well as the bloody, vicious mayhem. It’s directed by Elizabeth Banks, her third feature and her latest effort after the undeserved flop of Charlie’s Angels. It also features Ray Liotta’s last performance, alongside a Pajiba 10-worthy lineup including Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys, Alden Ehrenreich, Margo Martindale, and Isiah Whitlock Jr. It’s a bizarre, R-rated big swing of a concept from writer Jimmy Warden, who previously co-wrote The Babysitter: Killer Queen and nothing else, but hey — at least Oscar® winners Phil Lord and Christopher Miller are on board as producers! This movie could be incredible, the kind of unexpected feature that spawns weeks of industry think pieces about the revitalization of Hollywood, or it could be an absolute disaster. Either way, I’m rooting for it. I hope it’s outstanding. Banks and Liotta deserve it.
Still, that’s not the hope I’m talking about. The hope that made me write this meandering mess of an FYC is the hope this movie has given me. When days and months and years start blending together, when new outbreaks and scandals and disasters threaten without warning, when it feels like there is no good news or anything worth looking forward to… there’s Cocaine Bear, in theaters on February 24th. Or there’s M3GAN, the creepy dancing doll movie coming out next month, or there’s that stupid “Adam Driver Shoots Dinosaurs” movie out in March. There’s Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse and Barbie and even a new John Wick movie with Hiroyuki Sanada, Clancy Brown, and Donnie F*cking Yen. I remember all that, and suddenly the year 2023 doesn’t seem so bad. In fact, 2023 might actually be pretty f*cking rad. Either that or my standards have plummeted down beneath the mole holes and literally anything will impress me. WHO’S TO SAY?
Point is, Cocaine Bear may not be a hot celebrity (or even a hot duck), but dammit: This movie has me feeling excited for the first time in years, and that’s worth a P10 nom in my book. So this year, let’s vote for hope. We deserve it,
even if especially if it comes in the shape of a bear off its tits on coke.